Spock and Awe

When I wrote up the first entry for the Summer Movie Preview, only one May movie scored an automatic "Must-See" on the list. I wanted to be sure and catch it before all the plot points had been spoiled and discussed to death on the internet, so Monday night, Kyle and I caught an evening showing of Star Trek Into Darkness. Though there's plenty to nitpick - as there will always be in a summer effects blockbuster - I quite liked it, overall. All I ask from a Star Trek movie is for it to be bombastic fun, and it certainly delivered on that front, so know that any carping that is to follow was relatively minor in comparison.

We saw this movie in 2D, and neither of us felt that we missed anything but an inflated ticket price by skipping out on the more pervasive 3D showings. I'm sure the 3D was handled well, but we didn't need it to appreciate the visual appeal of the movie, which was considerable (especially in the opening scene, which takes place on a beautifully colorful planet with an active volcano). Though this isn't a movie that succeeds because of a deep, thoughtful plot, the one storyline that does really work is the interplay between Kirk and Spock, and their wildly different approaches to life-altering decisions and situations. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have great chemistry, and it's definitely put to good use.

And now, the promised carping! Take a look at this pretty picture, but venture no further if you want to remain unspoiled.

10 Things Star Trek Into Darkness Did Wrong But I Don't Particularly Care About

1) So that one guy is willing to murder more than 40 people to save his daughter from cancer? And we're supposed to appreciate the tough spot he's been put into?

2) Check out the intro scene leading into the bigwigs meeting after the archive explosion. One of the extras is severely overhamming his "I Am Going To A Big, Important Meeting" walk, and it's hilarious.

3) Khan the supergenius' big plan to save his people is to cryogenically freeze them into torpedoes? That's his best idea?

4) This one I actually do care about and was disappointed by: The movie fails the Bechdel Test hardcore. All of the women are pretty, but completely useless at their jobs, and basically neither of them can accomplish anything without a man to help her along.

5) Why scream KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN after Kirk dies repairing the reactor if Khan wasn't the one to sabotage it? I guess screaming MARRRRRRRRRRCUUUUUUUS doesn't have the same ring to it.

6) Why do they specifically need to keep Khan alive for his superblood, when there are literally stacks of other superpeople lying around the ship?

7) And death isn't a concern now? You can just cure that? That's handy.

8) First Movie: Older Spock tells Younger Spock that he cannot continue to volunteer information about alternate timelines. New Movie: "Oh, Khan? Yeah, let me outline step-by-step how to deal with him. Thanks for somehow knowing to call me about this apparently random foe you've encountered." I like a Nimoy cameo as much as the next guy, but I wish they'd thought of an actual reason to include him.

9) Speaking of which, what was the purpose of Khan at all? Take him out, insert a guy named Bob Fingerfuck, and it's pretty much exactly the same movie. And didn't they spend a bunch of time insisting that no matter how evil he is, he needs to stand trial for his crimes rather than just being assassinated or put away? And then they did exactly that?

10) And um... I guess nobody much cares that half of San Francisco has been squashed into pudding?

Most of these only occurred to me on later consideration, and as I said, I wasn't really asking much from this movie, so none of them ruined the experience. I just wanted to get the point across that this is not a thinking person's Star Trek. The plot is rigidly constructed to provide some fan-service callbacks and show a lot of stuff get blowed up real good, but the story takes no risks and mostly falls apart on closer inspection. So if you're looking for thoughtful, in-depth science fiction, keep on walking. If you want to turn down your brain for a couple hours and watch pretty people put into perilous situations in air-conditioned splendor, welcome aboard.

Star Trek Into Darkness: B


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